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Everybody is fighting a battle.

We live in an age where our social media personas can often times blind those from seeing what really exists inside of us. Sometimes you may never know what someone might be going through. Although I don’t usually talk too much about my personal life, I am happy to share a part of my story with you guys. In order to understand where I am today, let’s first take it back to my childhood.

Growing Up

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Growing up, I would consider myself as a happy kid for the most part. Almost spoiled in a way. My parents didn’t necessarily go overboard, but I had few complaints as any child probably would. I loved going outside, playing with toys, video games, sports and more. I did it all. Just like any normal kid.

However, moving a lot steadily started to become more of the norm. I moved so much as a kid and even a teenager. It began to really wear me down. It was really difficult for me to deal with it. It’d be really stressful at times but I got through it. Seems like everyday I’d pass somewhere I lived at some point. Just another obstacle I guess.

Change of plans..

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If the constant moving was the quarterback pressure, then my parent’s forthcoming divorce was the sack fumble. It wasn’t until my mother and father got a divorce when things had begun to change. Although they told me it wasn’t my fault, it still shook me for a while but once I got older I was able to handle it better.

The transition from family life to a single parent home was as difficult as it sounds. Often times, I took the brunt of it. My escape was football. In between those lines, I could be immune from all outside noise. I would get lost in the game, and for those few hours each week, I was free.

Yet inevitably, the game always has to end. Often times, from youth football to high school football , after games i would kind of sit around and hang out. I’d talk to other people’s parents and families. It was difficult without both of my parents being there. Seeing everybody happy with their moms and dads was honestly heartbreaking. Now don’t get me wrong. My mom would definitely come up to me and congratulate me and support mebut it just felt different without my biological father or even my step-father at the time just not being around as much. So coaches and other family members would take the place as the father figure and show unconditional love to me. My parents did the best they could so I couldn’t be too disappointed at the situation. Being a single parent, mother or father is not always easy, so I commend the ones that do it. I especially commend the kids who are having to deal with that.

Depression:

What is depression? Depression is feelings of severe despondency and dejection. I was diagnosed with depression in-between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Finally, my behavior took an unexpected turn for the absolute worst. I began contemplating suicidal thoughts.

Feeling so incredibly helpless, I finally decided to confide in my mom for the very first time.

In that moment, I was alone no more. The feeling of being alone can come with battling depression.

But shortly after that I started seeing a therapist and taking medication (still do). Sometimes I’d feel really alone and be to myself a whole lot. I could be at a party having an enjoyable time then a few minutes later be sitting by myself and not talk to anyone. People would ask me what’s wrong if I’m just quiet, but I would be reluctant to tell them whats wrong. I guess that just comes with it. The frequent thoughts of suicide can be scary but you have to know that’s not answer. Suicide is never the answer and i express that notion a whole lot. A lot of people will ask me how I deal with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and etc. I love helping others with that and just about anything else really.

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As a football player, you’re taught to never reveal weakness, and I took that notion to heart. As I transferred that mindset into my personal life, my first thought was that this could never affect me on the football field, right? My safe haven? Wrong.

I began to become increasingly distant from my teammates. It’d be times at practice and even games where you would usually find me by myself Head down. Silent. Totally removed from the equation.

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Usually if I didn’t play well, I’d be really down on myself. But there was a few teammates and close friends that I could always lean towards for advice on anything. It was guys like those who I really appreciate for always having my back and they know who they are.

Managing:

Really how I’ve been managing all of these things is just my faith. Trusting in God to get me through whatever I go through. And not only by going through something but growing through it. There has been many people who experience harsh things and has still been able to over come them. Sometimes it’s that extra motivation we need to keep pushing forward. I recommend therapy as way to express or open up about whatever struggles you may be facing. It really helped me a lot.

Life changing experience

During the month of October in 2015, I was robbed at gunpoint in broad day. It was honestly a traumatizing experience because I have never seen anything like that before. My family was really worried at the time about my health, but I was ok. There was no cuts or bruises, or anything but this did cause me to have PTSD. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) At times I would have frequent nightmares and wake up sweating. It was really weird to deal with but I’m managing it pretty well.

Role models

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My role models consist of mostly athletes. I guess you could say Odell Beckham Jr. and Tyrann Mathieu would be my main role models or favorite athletes for that matter. I feel like I can relate to them the most. Because of their passion for the game, the trials and tribulations that they face, and the ability to bounce back from any situation thrown their way is what I admire about them the most.

They both had to deal with a lot, off the field and on. Whether it’s personal issues or injuries, both Tyrann and Odell were able to recover from it all. I’ve had to bounce back a lot in my life so it’s really nothing new to me. But when I look back on the challenges they faced, it motivates me to keep striving for better because if they can bounce back from anything then I know that I can too.

Inspire

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Being an inspiration is one of the things I love the most. I’m so passionate about helping others and just doing the right things. I want to be the person that kids, teenagers and adults look up to. A lot of people will tell me that I’ve inspired them because of my story and I love it. I take a lot of pride in being an inspiration.

I try to take things that I learned from my role models and pass that along to others in effort to help them as well. Despite what I go through or have been through, all I ever wanted to do is to help others and put a smile on their faces. This has always been a major priotity for me. And by having the support from friends, family, and fans is a major blessing for me. Because of them, I will continue to strive for greatness and to continue be a role model to more and more people.

Mental health awareness

I plan to do more things toward mental health awareness. No matter if it’s anything from charity work or teaming up with organizations, I want to do whatever it takes to help others. My heart was filled with joy whenever my first story involving my mental health was published because it inspired a lot of people and I want this one to as well.

Conclusion

We all go through trials and tribulations but we have to bounce back from them. You have to stay motivated and continue to be great. It’s all about growth and maturing. Like I said before don’t just go through it, grow through it. Always have the mentality to bounce back and never give up. Point blank period!!

God bless!

-BJT

Twitter: @bjt_era

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